While I can’t speak for Tiki, at first I found the story about his and my relationship to be humorous. The scandalous headlines, such as “Sneaky Tiki” and factually incorrect details – like Tiki leaving his wife while she was eight months pregnant with twins – that graced the cover of “reputable” newspapers amused me. Amusing because I, quite frankly, knew the truth. I knew that Tiki didn’t leave Ginny when she was eight months pregnant for me. I knew that his relationship had deteriorated before my relationship with him was even a thought in his mind. I knew that I was never Tiki’s babysitter or that he “lavished” me with expensive gifts or snuck into my college dorm room (I lived on an all girl’s floor with a key swipe entrance … think how difficult it would be to sneak a 5’10, 200-pound, black man into that environment?). Plain and simple, the truth was and still is that Tiki and I never crossed the line of being inappropriate while he was married and nor was our relationship inappropriate now that he wasn’t.
The initial amusement that I had towards the story rapidly vanished when the truth didn’t come out. During this time Tiki and I were forced to hide away from everyone for fear of the press. We couldn’t go out to eat without it becoming tabloid news. I was quickly becoming exceedingly frustrated with the story and the way it was spiraling out of control. The truth wasn’t coming out, and in fact, more outlandish and ludicrous lies were being told and printed.
I remember one day, crying to Tiki, probably after reading a blog about us (which I promised Tiki I wouldn’t do), begging him to call the papers, to scream it from the top of 30 Rock, to simply tell the world the truth because I thought it was destroying me, him, and the potential future for our relationship together. Upon my request to vindicate not only myself, but him as well, Tiki, sat me down, placed his arm around me, and said, “Nothing that I can say will change their perception. Only time will.”
And while the stubborn, opinionated side of me hates to admit it, he was right.
Four months later we are still together and love each other more than before. We have our moments of discontent as any normal couple does, but for the most part we find happiness in each other and the simple pleasures of life. On an average night we find ourselves watching whatever we have rented from Netflix or enjoying an episode of Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman (yes, with or without Tiki’s permission, I will admit that we own the entire collection). Instead of loud and pretentious clubs, you can find us at a cozy wine bar with friends or playing in a co-ed softball league. If any restaurant requires a three-course meal or more we refuse to go and end up eating at a local pub right around the corner from our apartment. We stay up too late for any sane couple reading books in bed and we enjoy knowing that even if we are boring, we would both rather be bored with each other than doing something with someone else.
While it has been four months since the story of our relationship came out, people still are judging and opining on it. But these people have been influenced by the ignominious and outrageous stories that have been told about us. Everyone has the right to believe what they desire and Tiki and I both realize this. We simply just take solace and great joy in knowing that the people who know the true “Tiki and Traci” have loved and supported us every step of the way and we take even greater joy in making new friends who have learned to love the “real us.”
And in the end that is all that matters. A few good friends and one true love.